Sunday, August 8, 2004
Finally - Andre's back
Agassi outlasts Roddick for title matchup vs. Hewitt
By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer
MASON - In a week's time, Andre Agassi has returned excitement and success to his career.
Agassi outdueled 21-year-old and No. 2-ranked Andy Roddick Saturday night in a three-set showdown in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.
"It's thrilling," said Agassi, who played in the semifinals here for the first time since 1999. "You get a real rush of blood."
His 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (2) victory sent Agassi to the finals here for the first time since 1996, when he won his second of two titles in Cincinnati.
He plays Lleyton Hewitt in today's final. Hewitt leads the all-time series 4-3, but Agassi won their previous match, in the 2002 U.S. Open semifinals.
At 34, Agassi is the oldest finalist since Mark Cox , who was 34 years, 3 months and 13 days-in 1977 - four days older than Agassi.
"I'm going to be amazed if I can walk up the stairs fast at 34, much less play that level of tennis," Roddick said.
Should Agassi defeat Hewitt, he would become the second-oldest champion in tournament history. He is playing in his first final in any event since the Tennis Masters Cup last November.
"For the first time in a while, Andre's pretty much got nothing to lose," Hewitt said. "He loves big matches, and he loves playing."
Agassi's ranking has fallen from No. 1 to No. 11 in the last 12 months, but he now appears ready to contend for another U.S. Open title at the end of the month.
"I wanted to make sure the best players in the world have to play their best tennis to beat me," Agassi said. " I felt like I did that tonight."
Lleyton Hewitt vs. Andre Agassi (Hewitt leads 4-3)
2002 U.S. Open (semifinals): Agassi 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2
2002 Cincinnati TMS (quarterfinals): Hewitt 7-5, 6-3
2002 San Jose (final): Hewitt 4-6, 7-6, 7-6
2001 Tennis Masters Cup (RR): Hewitt 6-3, 6-4
2001 Indian Wells TMS (semifinals): Agassi 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
1999 Los Angeles (quarterfinals): Agassi 5-4, retired
1998 Adelaide (semifinals): Hewitt 7-6, 7-6
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